A judge has sentenced an Oklahoma teen convicted of manslaughter to 10 years of church instead of jail, KOCO reports.
Seventeen-year-old Tyler Alred admitted to driving while intoxicated, which led to the death of his 16-year-old passenger, John Luke Dum.
A judge presiding over the case sentenced Alred to attend church every Sunday and pray for forgiveness for the next 10 years. In addition to attending church, Alred must graduate from high school and take drug and alcohol tests for the next year.
Alred’s attorney doesn’t plan to challenge the sentence. Defense attorney Donn Baker said, “I usually represent outlaws and criminals. This is a kid that made a mistake. I think he’s worth saving.”
This isn’t the first time Judge Mike Norman has handed down this sentence, although Alred is the youngest defendant he has sentenced to church. The 69-year-old told ABC News, “The Lord works in many ways. I’ve done a little bit of this kind of thing before, but never on such a serious charge.”
Norman said he took Alred’s clean criminal and school records into consideration when making his sentence. Alred also has to wear a drug and alcohol bracelet and participate in counseling groups. He must also graduate from welding school.
Alred pleaded guilty to first-degree manslaughter in August. Dum died on impact when Alred crashed his Chevrolet pickup truck and ejected Dum from the passenger seat.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol issued a Breathalyzer, and while Alred was under the state’s legal limit, he had been drinking underage.
John Luke Dum’s family said they didn’t want to see Tyler Alred behind bars. Dum’s sister, Caitlin, said in a statement, “We don’t need to see two lives wasted for a mistake.”
Before his sentencing, Alred addressed Dum’s family for the first time since the crash. He said, “I know my words cannot bring him back. I did not want to do what I did. I want to change my life. I have changed my life.”
Should Tyler Alred have been sentenced to jail time instead of church, or does he deserve a chance to turn his life around?